5 Garlic Press
Ok, we’ll come clean: This is really only one use for this. But it’s a very small gadget so we decided it was worth it anyway especially if you do a lot of Mediterranean cooking or Asian cooking. If you don’t have a garlic press, the next best option is to use a knife to dice your garlic into tiny cubes which, if you are using a lot of it, can take forever and eventually make your hands hurt. Plus, your hands will smell like garlic for the rest of the day. If you were wondering; yes, we do have first-hand experience in this, so you can trust us when we recommend investing in a garlic press.
4 Slow Cooker
First of all, remember that slow cookers and crock pots come in a lot of different sizes. There are some that make one serving and others that can easily hold a meal for a group of ten. Don’t get a bigger one than you need. Not only is it an inefficient use of space, small servings also won’t cook correctly in a big pot. The beauty of a slow cooker in a small kitchen is that they are the perfect way to make a full meal using only one pot. Simply throwing in all your raw ingredients and let it go. It requires none of the usual fussing over multiple temperatures and numerous dishes that are getting in each other’s way in a small space. Of course, you can use it to make single dishes but you’ll also find that a disproportionate number of slow cooker recipes cover all the major food groups.
3 Immersion Blender
An immersion blender (aka hand blender) takes the usual blender blades and puts them on the end of a thick handle with a motor inside. Instead of pouring your food into a blender, you simply use the handle to insert the blades right into the pot, pan or bowl of whatever it is that you want to blend. Even if you had a big kitchen this is a much more convenient arrangement for dishes like soup that require cooking, then blending then more cooking. If you have the space, keep an eye out for a model that comes with attachments, including some that let you attach a container that enable you to use it as a regular blender for things like smoothies that don’t require cooking. The immersion blender still won’t have quite the same amount of power as a regular blender but for most things it will work just fine and will be worth the savings in space and money.
2 Lettuce spinner
Although this isn’t nearly as versatile as a mixer, it takes up a little less space and is more practical for those of us who are perfectly fine buying our meat pre-ground. A lettuce spinner is a giant bowl with a lid that has a large basket that can be spun around inside using a handle on top of the lid. After washing the lettuce, you put it in the basket, close the lid, spin it and the water drops are thrown off of the lettuce and collected in the bottom of the bowl. This saves a lot of time and paper towels that you might otherwise use to dry each lettuce leaf and means your salad is crisper and stays fresh in the refrigerator for much longer than if you had used still dripping lettuce. What makes it useful in a small kitchen is that it converts immediately into a salad bowl and a convenient storage container when you put the lid on. Some of them even have salad servers that snap into the top of the lid so that you’ve gotten everything you will need throughout the life of a salad all in one package.
A mixer isn’t strictly necessary when you’re baking from scratch but it sure does help. There are plenty of good uses to put it to beyond the obvious batter mixing and that’s what puts it at the top of the list. Just keep in mind that many of the more interesting uses require added attachments. It can be used to make whipped cream, ice-cream, frosting and homemade pasta. It can even be used in place of a bread machine or a meat grinder. Of course, if you are still learning how to make scrambled eggs, you probably won’t end up taking advantage of most of this. But if you really enjoy cooking, then a mixer is a great way to help you get around the limitations of a small kitchen.
What are your basic gadgets you’re willing to find space for?